How to improve sales in a community pharmacy without opening new branches

Hey hey, community pharmacists and aspiring community pharmacists, this article is for you. Here we are going to talk about how to improve sales in a community pharmacy without opening new branches. This has become particularly important because lots of pharmacy owners believe that success in business means opening new branches everyday, which may not be the real picture.

Granted is the fact that opening a new branch could mean extra profit flowing in. But remember that it also means extra staff, extra running cost, extra risk and extra salary. Sometimes it could really take a while for a new branch to pick up and before that happens the running cost could be sorted from the already existing branch which would mean bad business.

However there may be ways to go around this and still improve your sales and maximise profits. We will therefore take out time and itemise and elaborate on ways one can improve sales in a community pharmacy without opening new branches.

Related – Setting Targets in community pharmacies

1. Introduce a personal product line.

Introducing a product line is one sure way you can improve sales in a community pharmacy without going through the rigours of opening new branches. Look around you there are products you buy that you can make on your own or at least repackage to save cost. Let’s take some examples;

As a Pharmacist who has made up his mind to focus on a career in community pharmacy, it should somewhat not make sense to buy hand sanitizers from the market and sell, when you can produce them. If your staff are well compensated and motivated, getting them to make these preparations shouldn’t be a big deal, that is if you’re too occupied to do them yourself.

Most young pharmacists made cool cash making and selling sanitizers in the heat of the pandemic. Why then do you want to buy sanitizer from the market? One can even take a bigger step to make larger quantities and sell to other colleagues. All that is needed is to make quality sanitizers, give it a good packaging and label, then add colors or perfumes to spice it up.

Related – How to differentiate between a pharmacy and a chemist

Also, you can modify the way you procure items like honey, cashew nuts or ground nuts for your supermarket section. Instead of letting vendors supply you these items, you can take a bolder step of procuring them in larger quantities from village markets (or direct from those that produce at home) where they will definitely be cheaper. You can then in turn, repackage them with your label and sell in your premises. Once it goes well, you can supply to other colleagues of yours.

Another interesting area, is that of skin care and dermatology products. Some very business minded and skilled pharmacies have even gone a step further to introduce skin care products into their business.

This like you already know will be a goldmine, because virtually everyone wants to look good and these people surely trust their pharmacists to help them in this looking good journey. Check what Healthplus has done with Cassabella and you will get a glimpse of what I am saying.

The message for you is therefore not to focus on tetracycline and Augmentin, take a step and explore other areas. You will be really glad you did, because even if these approaches don’t add visible large sums into the business at an instant, it will surely help you to maximise profits. Maximising profits is a sure way to improve sales in a community pharmacy without going through the rigours of opening new branches.

2. Collaboration with other pharmacists.

How often do patients come into the pharmacy requesting for a particular drug and you don’t have them? Don’t you think that not having what most of your patients want can be a setback for your business? Well, it surely can and one way to save yourself from this danger is by collaborating with other pharmacists and pharmacies.

You can’t practically stock all the drugs and supplements that your patients need, therefore you need those go-to-contacts that you can reach once someone comes for a drug that is out of stock or for a rare drug. The impression you create for your clients is that you have the capacity to make available all they want. They will begin to contact you once they need a particular item and will even refer people to you.

Another form of collaboration can be in the form exportation or importation of pharmaceuticals or medical equipments. You and a few of your colleagues can join hands to import medical equipments or medicines or even just market such in your different premises or online. Marketing online is also such a lucrative option that most pharmacists are yet to exploit. That will lead us to the next point on how to improve sales in a community pharmacy…

3. Online sales

Take a quick tour on instagram, Jiji or Jumia and see for yourself what people are doing with online sales of supplements, neutraceuticals and even medical equipments. Guess what? Most of them are neither pharmacists nor allied medical professionals. Most don’t even have a degree, they’ve mastered the act of selling online and have access to the products they want to sell and that’s all.

But we have pharmacists who still think that at this time and day, their clients will have to locate them only in their physical premises. No dear, you need a good online presence, you also need to master the act of selling online and the act of online advertisements as well.

Do you own a pharmacy and you’re confused on how to get started online? Then CLICK HERE to send a message.

By having an online presence, you can stay in the comfort of your pharmacy in Enugu and attend to patients in Jos and Abuja. You can as well sell to people in Benue from your pharmacy in Lagos. All that is needed is to have a good social media team, with good graphics and marketing skills. The good news is that you alone can be that team if you so want it.

Click to read the article on a Do It Yourself Online marketing for Pharmacists.

4. HMO diversification.

Ever thought about the fact that the main ingredient in health management system is drug? Then who again are the custodians of drugs? Your guess is as good mine.

Well, I think pharmacists can begin to venture in the HMO space not solely because they stand a chance to make money from it (which is obvious), but because they will offer better services compared to the ones available.

The community pharmacist is well equipped with the knowledge to know when it is ethical to do a generic substitution and when it is not. He’s also a trained pharmacist who understands the dynamics of the drug market. He’s therefore the best candidate to oversee the activities of health management organisations.

Imagine you have a community pharmacy and you introduce a HMO plan where clients and patients can pay for their medications (and those of their family members) ahead, do you know what this could mean? It means that patients on long term medications can have their refills easily sorted out either by themselves or by their children who may not be in the country. All that is needed is for them to get subscribed to your available HMO plans.

They will also benefit from medication reconciliation and pharmaceutical care services that you will render, which will reduce the cases of medication errors to the barest minimum. Also, there could be home delivery services attached to this as well, especially for aged patients.

However, this could be a long shot and you will need to work with physicians who will do assessment and write prescriptions in some cases. This can be well factored out in the plan and should really not be an issue. There could also even be collaborations between you and other pharmacies in other states and regions to reach out to more people.

Most of the points elucidated above are not theory based, they are very relatable and practical. Most pharmaceutical brands like HealthPlus have keyed into some of the above and have made good money and name with it. Others like myPharmacy are also doing very well in this regard. You too can innovate around some of these ideas and improve sales in your community pharmacy, without practically going through the stress of opening new branches.

What are your thoughts and/or additions on this topic? Kindly pen it down using the comments section below…

You can also CLICK HERE to read further on moving your pharmacy from local maxima to global maxima

About Ishima

Ishima™ is a Pharmacist with special interests in the management of chronic illnesses, gender studies, mental health and psychotherapy. He is the convener of #SaveTheBoyChildMovement which is geared at repositioning the place of men in the society and redefining masculinity . He is a writer, a crazy poet and a firm believer in making the world a better place.

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